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Clear Thinking #33 LAUNCH – Mental Health Substance Use Prevention

Clear Thinking #33 LAUNCH – Mental Health Substance Use Prevention by Better Brodhead Inc

For this episode of Clear Thinking we were taken over by guest hosts from the Monroe High School LAUNCH program, Behavioral Health Strand. Join Jayden Elgin, Ave Waefler and Kierre Zahradka as they interview Alicia Fishlock, the Substance Recovery and Mental Health Wellness Navigator for Green County Human Services.

Safetalk Training

What is it?

SafeTalk is a moderate-level, 4-hour mental health training that prepares participants to be more alert to people thinking about suicide and better be able to connect them to help. The training is given by certified trainers in the community who want to spread awareness on suicide prevention and make a difference in the mental health world.

What will you learn?

-how to reach out to someone thinking about suicide, promptly connect them to further support, overcome personal and community attitudes that act as barriers to help, and learn the powerful 4-step talk model.

Who should attend?

Anyone 15+ years who is looking to build a culture of safety from suicide within their organization or community.

Please contact or call 608-897-9081 for more information or if you are interested in taking the class!

Art Contest

Art Contest

Better Brodhead Art Contest

September 1st-September 30th

How will you remain drug-free this school year?

For examples please visit


Draw and color a picture based off of the question above and your interpretation of it.

Only use a 8×11 sheet of paper.

Artwork becomes the property of Better Brodhead and may be displayed online and at events. 

All pictures must be turned in by September 30th, 2022. You can drop them off or mail them to 2602 1st Center Ave (Floors For Less building) or return them to Brodhead High School, or Brodhead Middle School.

For more information or questions please contact

Only students within the Brodhead School District/homeschooled may participate in the art contest. Grades 6-12

Only original artwork (no internet printouts or photographs).

Put your name, grade, and a way to contact you on the back of the artwork.

Artwork will be judged on creativity, design, use of color, and message.

1st prize-$100 Amazon Gift card. 2nd-$50 Amazon Gift card. 3rd-$25 Amazon Gift card.

Nurse Laura assists a student during the 8th Grade Reality Maze Spring 2022.

Reality Maze – Spring 2022

Brodhead 8th Graders Learn Consequences of Substance Misuse

Reality Maze is an annual event for Brodhead Middle School 8th Graders.  It is an opportunity to educate students about some possible negative consequences of substance misuse, and inform students of the supports that are available in our community. 

This year’s event took place on Friday, April 29th from 8:00am – 11:00am in the Brodhead Middle School gym.  All 77 8th graders participated in the Reality Maze.  There were 20 professionals who played the needed roles in the scenarios and two teachers who supervised the students.

Updating the Reality Maze

In preparation for the event, we reviewed the previous Reality Mazes scenarios and determined that in order to have a stronger impact, we needed to make major changes. 

In collaboration with partner agencies and Y2Y students, we used student-friendly language to reduce the number of scenarios from 32 to 10 while making the scenarios more accurate representations of what happens in our local community.  Fewer scenarios allowed us to schedule students’ participation in the maze so it was an orderly and educational experience. 

The judges met prior to the Reality Maze to agree on appropriate consequences for each scenario.  

To make the process run smoothly, a folder was made for each volunteer that included a welcome and thank you letter, master spreadsheet, and a copy of each scenario that pertained to that person or group. 

Prior to the event, each group of professionals in the Reality Maze was invited to read through their scenarios for accuracy.  Feedback provided from these groups was used to update the scenarios.

Reality Maze Day

On the day of the event, each 8th Grade Math class was given whole group instruction.  The first five students started the maze after receiving their scenario worksheet and a pencil.  Every five minutes, another set of five students went to the gym to start the maze.  Two classrooms near the gym were uses as the courtrooms. Students waiting in the math classroom used the drunk goggles and other interactive tools. 

Volunteer Feedback

After the event, each volunteer was sent a Google Form evaluation to describe their experience.  According to volunteer feedback, 100% said this year’s event was better than their last Reality Maze experience.  All respondents indicated that the Reality Maze was a useful activity for students; they were very satisfied with the implementation of the event; and were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of the scenarios.  All volunteers who responded indicated they would volunteer again and also recommend volunteering at this event to a friend or colleague. The volunteers did not feel rushed when playing their part in the scenarios.

What Students Learned

The students were asked to take a pre-test prior to beginning the Reality Maze, as well as a post-test and reflection upon completion.  This provided data to measure learning obtained during the maze; specifically students’ understanding of what consequences there are for various illegal activities.  Sixty students took the pre-test, but only 49 completed the post-test and reflection.   The post-test also allowed for multiple answers.  

*This graph represents the 49 students who completed the post-test and reflection.

Pre-Test & Post-Test Results

The post-test revealed that more students understood citations were issued for these illegal behaviors.  

The post-test revealed that more students understood fines were issued for these illegal behaviors.  

The post-test revealed that more students understood they would receive a police record for these illegal behaviors.  

Despite the fact that the planning involving the court scenarios did not include jail, the post-test results did not indicate that students learned this information.

The post-test revealed that more students understood there is a consequence for vaping nicotine.  


Time Management

A significant challenge to preparing for the 2022 Reality Maze was time management. The revisions of the scenarios took time because it was a collaborative effort with the professionals involved in the scenarios.  Better Brodhead also had other programs and events the same week which limited coalition volunteer involvement.   In the future, we will not plan multiple programs and events in the same week.  

Law Enforcement

The biggest challenge during the Reality Maze event itself was the law enforcement station.  There were two officers, but twice one officer was called away so that left only one officer.  We also quickly realized that a majority of the scenarios began with the police, which caused a back-up from the beginning. 

Looking Ahead

To improve for next year, the planning committee will create more scenarios that do not begin with law enforcement and review our current scenarios to determine if some changes can be made to the order of the stations.  

Dr. Semrow was very accommodating and allowed students to finish up the maze and reflection even though some were tardy to their next class.  According to the student feedback, they would like for there to be more law enforcement and more judges to decrease wait time at those stations.

Other challenges included volunteers canceling without much notice or not showing up, and not enough scenarios that included the EMS.  The students would like to be able to do more than one scenario or make the scenarios longer to be able to visit more stations. 

To address these challenges, we will invite more professionals to participate in the Reality Maze.  We will make sure to get commitments earlier, and possibly have MOUs for the volunteers. We will invite members of the EMS to help us develop more scenarios that involve them. 

A final challenge was getting the volunteers to complete the evaluation that was sent via email.  Next year we will add a paper copy of the evaluation to each folder and have a drop off spot near the exit.


There were many successes, including strengthening collaborative partnerships between Better Brodhead and local groups and professionals.  The level of engagement and ownership of the event increased through many productive work meetings with the school, the police department, the municipal judge, and parents. 

There was an impressive amount of community involvement in the Reality Maze.  Almost all of the Reality Maze volunteers either work or live in Brodhead so they were invested in this event.   

It is important for the authenticity of scenarios that students interact with the actual professionals in our community.  These interactions can provide an opportunity to build relationships in case students need to contact them for help in the future. 

According to student feedback, they felt the scenarios were realistic and liked learning about the consequences by talking to the people at the different stations without getting in trouble.  


For sustainability of the Reality Maze, we will create a Google Drive Folder that has all the information needed to run the event.  It will include a timeline, a list of volunteers needed, a list of materials needed, templates of the signage, and pdfs of the scenarios.  There are already volunteers who would like to take our packaged Reality Maze to other communities in Green County.  

Better Brodhead Blog Photo

A Day In the Life

Hi, my name is Kathy Comeau

Kathy Comeau

As Program Director for Better Brodhead, my day starts before I get to the office.  While sipping on my morning coffee, I look through emails to see if anything needs to be addressed immediately.  Then I check the google calendar for my schedule to prepare for meetings I have as well as checking staff schedules to see who is working and what they are working on.

Driving to work takes 10-15 minutes and I sometimes use this time to prioritize tasks for the day.  Once at work, in addition to monitoring the progress of our action plan and troubleshooting any challenges that staff have, I update the budget of each grant we have, oversee the data that staff log from activities completed, and keep SWCAP and the Executive Committee of the Better Brodhead board up to date on our work.

Since COVID 19 caused us to work and engage with the community differently, I began writing a quarterly newsletter as an insert into the Independent Register.  The date of publication is determined through collaboration with the Independent Register and the Register Print Center.  The current newsletter has been submitted for printing.  I monitor progress to make sure we meet the deadline for publication.  In addition, I write a monthly e-newsletter that is sent out via email and published on the Better Brodhead website.  The e- newsletter highlights upcoming activities/events, and the work staff does.

Something that I keep in mind throughout the work I do is sustainability of the coalition after the grants end.  One thing that I have decided to promote is training for board members.  With board members who are well versed in prevention efforts, the coalition would eventually be able to continue even without paid staff.  Recently three board members went to Washington DC for a leadership forum.  The agenda for tomorrow evenings coalition meeting includes a report out from each of them on things they learned.

Another opportunity presented itself recently.  Better Brodhead was invited to participate in a pilot project to see how coalitions could help address Opioid Use Disorder.  There is a opioid crisis in the county, causing many people to struggle with addiction.  This project if successful this year, could lead to some additional funding next year for the coalition.  Currently in this pilot project, I am collecting data from government sources.  I have been emailing people to schedule key informant interviews that will add qualitative information to the data collected.  The assessment of data collected will be used to develop a logic model in April.  I will meet with staff and any interested coalition members to go over the data and come up with a plan to reflect the needs of the community.

I schedule staff meetings for once a week so that each staff member can talk about what they are working on and coordinating with each other any work on joint projects.  This is also a time when we can brainstorm ideas for new activities, and iron out some loose ends.  In addition to staff meeting, I also meet with each staff person once a month to discuss progress, any challenges to the completion of activities, and any opportunities to enhance the work under each grant.

Monitoring daily work tasks, overseeing the progress of each grant action plan, supporting staff, maintaining an updated budget, report writing, connecting with current and potential coalition partners, while following a timeline of tasks to meet Federal and State deadlines is all in a day’s work.

-Thanks for reading-